The Twin’z, a concept car unveiled earlier this week in Milan.

The Renault-made, Ross Lovegrove-designed car strives to borrow from natural patterns and forms.

The integrated rim and wheel, with a tire designed specially by Michelin and imprinted with grips that mimic Turing patterns.

The iridescent blue body was inspired by Yves Klein, according to Lovegrove.

The headlight casings mimic a human iris.

A stippled grille maximized the flow of air through the car.

A view of the roof.

Lovegrove, left, squats by the car.

A layered LED roofscape “hoods passengers in a technological envelope that bathes them in a light which responds to the energy and pulse of Twin’Z,” explains Lovegrove.

A model showing the interior patterning.

This rendering shows the electric car in motion.

There’s no central column in the body, which makes the car feel more open.

A view of the cockpit.

The rear of the car.

The car at the Salone del Mobile.

Models pose with the Twin’z.

Co.Design

A Closer Look At Twin'z, Renault's Trippy Nature Car

A parametric design by Ross Lovegrove brings fabrication techniques inspired by nature to the automobile.

Salone del Mobile, the annual Milanese furniture fair, is as for designers as it is for brands struggling to associate themselves with design in general--as evinced by the slew of events and unveilings that are only peripherally related to design. For example, today the French automaker Renault unveiled their much-hyped new concept car, the Twin’z, which was designed by the Welsh biomimicry guru Ross Lovegrove. “The aim was to break down the boundaries between the world of an object whose calling is to be in movement--the automobile--and that of furniture,” the carmaker explains in their release.

A few weeks ago, a teaser from Renault suggested that the car would be based on biomimicry--which made some wonder if there was a new, sustainable aspect to the design. That’s not exactly the case, unless you count the fact that the electric car gets great mileage. Lovegrove’s team focused solely on the bodywork and interiors, all borrowing from natural patterns and forms. The iridescent blue body (inspired by Yves Klein, according to Lovegrove) is coated in green LED lighting. A stippled grille maximizes the flow of air through the car. The headlight casings mimic a human iris. A layered LED roofscape “hoods passengers in a technological envelope that bathes them in a light which responds to the energy and pulse of Twin’Z,” explains Lovegrove. “Mechanical ‘hard’ aesthetics are making way for the biological principles of ‘soft’ aesthetics.”

The wheel is probably the most compelling detail. It’s an integrated rim and wheel, with a tire designed specially by Michelin and imprinted with grips that mimic Turing patterns. The parametrically-generated rim itself branches from a central core into dozens of smaller beams, like a fractal pattern.

Twin’z definitely doesn’t contain any paradigm-shifting technology, but Lovegrove explains that the idea was to demonstrate the technical capabilities of parametric design and fabrication with regards to cars. “The car has become a symbol of our progress and civilization,” he says, “an icon of our technocracy and our ability to transform materials into objects of great precision and physical presence.” It’s a shame that thesis is so hard to see through the Twin’z’s fog-machine-and-glowstick aura.

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3 Comments

  • Steve Pender

    I like the ultra-light mesh seats and the upgradable dash and control plugs for smartphone and tablet. About time car makers started realizing they should simplify the interior and let the controls integrate with existing (cheaper, better) consumer electronics than each trying to come up with their own pathetic solution. We don't need dials for A/C, when we have voice recognition today, nor the bulky stereo boxes when we have ipods and mp3s. Lot of cool stuff, even the lines are neat. I'd have preferred a black steering wheel and some storage areas (if only exposed steel surfaces for Neodymium magnet mounts to attach accessories for storage).